Hello Internet! On today’s Flash Fiction Friday, we have a true Southern Gent Michael Rupured, all sass and class. His offering is Going Up, telling the tale of what happens when a man runs into his ex’s new boyfriend in the most unlikely place.
by Michael Rupured
The hot, wet tongue licking Grant Stone’s ear moved across his cheek and plunged into his left nostril. Big brown eyes met his gaze. He struggled beneath the weight on his chest to free his hands from the covers and pushed the furry face away.
His bedmate licked his face and wagged her tail. Grant pushed the big dog’s head away again. “Come on, Sadie. Let me up!”
She bounded from the bed and stood by the bedroom door with her tail wagging and an expectant look on her face. He couldn’t help but smile. The big dog’s indomitable cheerfulness and boundless enthusiasm had kept him going the last few months when all he’d wanted to do was pull the covers over his head and sleep.
He glanced at the clock on his bedside table. “Crap!” For the third time in as many days, he’d overslept. “Damn time change.”
Grant stood and stretched. In response, Sadie switched her tail into high gear, dancing around him as he made his way to the kitchen. Tim wanted joint custody, but Grant had provided his attorney with receipts proving he’d bought the dog and paid all her expenses. Tim had been granted visitation, but as with everything else, hadn’t followed through. Geoffrey, his new boyfriend, was allergic to dogs.
He turned on the coffee pot and headed for the bathroom. Sadie watched him with sad eyes and an unmoving droopy tail. “Sorry, Sadie. You’re going to have to wait until I’ve showered and dressed for work for your walk.”
She followed him into the bathroom, lowered her haunches, and rested her head on her paws. Grant turned on the shower, stepped out of his pajamas, and waited for the water to get hot. Getting married—Tim’s idea—had been a lot more fun than getting divorced. He wasn’t sure when Tim and Geoffrey had met, but for Grant, happily ever after had lasted about two years.
The steamy jets felt good on his neck and shoulders. Filing for divorce—Grant’s idea after learning about Tim’s affair—had prolonged the grieving process. In the past, ending a failed relationship had been a simple matter of kicking the two-timing bastard out of his house. Changing the locks had been the only expense. Interacting with his ex-partners was optional, and he’d chosen to pretend they didn’t exist.
Getting divorced was more expensive and a lot more painful. Seeing Tim again was bad enough. Seeing him with Geoffrey had been torture. The high-fives Tim and Geoffrey had exchanged when the papers had been signed added insult to injury.
Sadie followed him back to the bedroom and plopped on the floor by the door, her eyes following him as he hurried around getting dressed. He had to admit Geoffrey was a definite upgrade. The man was better looking, made more money, drove a nicer car, and lived in the best part of town. Aside from being a complete and total asshole, as far as Grant knew, the dog allergy was Geoffrey’s only flaw.
“Come on, girl. Let’s go for that walk.” She followed him to the front door, dancing with excitement when he picked up her leash. “No dawdling this morning, okay?” He hooked the leash to her collar. “Daddy’s running late again.”
After a quick trip around the block, they returned home. He tossed the bag of poop into the trash cart, let Sadie loose in the house, and then hurried to his car. As usual when he was running late, traffic moved at a snail’s pace. He fussed and fumed at no one in particular until he pulled into the parking lot of the office tower where he worked, finding a space, at last, about as far from the entrance as possible.
He rushed through the front door and hurried toward the elevator. The doors were closing so he stuck his arm between them, causing them to open. He stepped onto the elevator, pushed the button for the eighth floor, and as the doors closed behind him, recognized the sole occupant.
“Hello, Grant,” Geoffrey said.
Grant wanted to punch the smile off his face. “Hello, Geoffrey. What are you doing here?” He hadn’t meant to sound so angry or accusatory, but his unexpected presence had caught Grant off guard.
“Dental appointment.” He flashed a smile, his pearly whites standing out in stark contrast to his well-tanned face. “I forgot you work in this building. Good to see you again.”
Grant forced a smile. “You too.” He looked at the panel and saw Geoffrey had selected the ninth floor. Crap. An awkward silence followed. Grant stared at the display over the door indicating what floor they were on. The number switched from two to three, and then to four when all of a sudden, the lights went out and the elevator lurched to a stop.
“Oh my God!” Geoffrey exclaimed. “Are you there, Grant?”
Like he’d disappear when the lights went out. “I’m here.”
“Man, this freaks my shit out,” Geoffrey whimpered.
Grant smiled. He couldn’t help it. “Sorry.”
“What do we do?”
He heard panic creeping into Geoffrey’s voice. “We wait.” Pushing the emergency call button would speed things up, but Grant was enjoying himself too much to mention it.
“Isn’t there an emergency phone in here or something?”
Grant heard Geoffrey patting the metal walls.
“I can’t find it!” His voice went up an octave. “Do you think we’ll run out of air?”
A hermetically sealed elevator? Grant dug his fingernails into his palms to keep from laughing. Feeding the poor man’s fears, Grant knew, was wrong, but he couldn’t help himself. “Gosh. I don’t know. I’d say we’re good for at least another fifteen or twenty minutes.”
Geoffrey sobbed. “I don’t want to die!” He pounded on the elevator doors. “Help!”
“No point yelling,” Grant said, grateful for the darkness. His cheeks hurt from grinning so much. He really wanted to pull out his cellphone to video the whole thing, but the light would give him away. “The elevator is soundproof too,” he lied.
Silence followed, punctuated by Geoffrey’s whimpers and sobs. Grant leaned back against the wall and listened. He resisted the urge to whistle or hum a happy tune, but was tempted to sing a few bars of My Favorite Things.
After a few more minutes, the elevator lurched. The lights flickered and then stayed on. Geoffrey was huddled in the corner, his face stained with tears. His bottled-blond hair stuck out from either side of his head at a jaunty angle where he’d been clutching it.
Grant would have felt sorry for anyone else, but found no sympathy in his heart for the sniffling home wrecker. He extended his hand. “Help you up?
Geoffrey wiped the tears from his face and grabbed Grant’s hand. When he stood up, Grant saw the front of the khaki pants he wore were soaked with urine. The elevator came to a stop and the doors opened on the eighth floor. “Good to see you again,” he said as he exited the elevator. “Tell Tim I said hello.”
He resisted the urge to whip out his phone for a quick picture. He didn’t need photographic evidence. The memory would last a lifetime.